September 19, 2023

The Human Rights Consortium has welcomed the publication of the report by the Independent Review of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission which has highlighted the serious underfunding of the Commission and highlighted the need to provide a sufficient base line budget for its work.

Kevin Hanratty, Director of the Human Rights Consortium a civil society coalition of over 160 organisations said, ‘We having been awaiting the outcome and government response to this review for almost a year and we are pleased to see that both have been published today. The consistent underfunding of the Commission has been a serious source of concern for civil society locally and the Consortium and our members have been campaigning for the Commission budget to be reviewed for many years. The underfunding of the Commission has placed the delivery of important aspects of its duties, such as awareness raising, education and investigations at risk and it has also jeopardised its status at the United Nations as an a rated National Human Rights Institution.’

‘The Independent Report has made a series of recommendations but has confirmed our concerns around the ongoing funding relationship by highlighting that ‘budget of the NIHRC is currently inadequate and restricting its ability to deliver its statutory duties’. The report recommended an increased budget for the 2023/2024 financial year and a comprehensive budget review to establish a baseline budget for the Commission moving forward. We are pleased to see that the NIO has accepted both of these recommendations in its response and we look forward to seeing the comprehensive delivery of this target in the near future.’

‘A well-resourced and independent Human Rights Commission is key to delivering the core role it was envisaged to have within the human rights protections guaranteed in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. We will review the other recommendations in this report with our members in the coming days but we hope that the core budgetary recommendations in this report can be actioned in order to secure the stability of the Commission into the future and herald a change in UK Government attitudes to the place that human rights plays within our governance.’

‘Instead of underfunding the Commission, the UK Government should have been focussing its attention on delivering the remaining human rights architecture of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement such as the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. Yet we still see political parties being handed a veto on the development of that important legislation. The protection of human rights need to be placed front and centre in the operation and delivery of the Agreement – not left behind, underfunded or undermined.’


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